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BES 2002-2003 Annotations

Grades 4 - 6

Bridges, Ruby� -� Through My Eyes
� In her autobiography, Ruby Bridges shares with readers her thoughts and feelings as she becomes the first black student to attend all-white,� William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960. With the love and support of her family, the first grader is able to overcome the ignorance and hatred that was found in her neighborhood and in her school. She includes in the book an update on her life and her work in the civil rights movement.

Duffey, Betsy� -� Cody Unplugged
� Cody Michaels’ parents send him off to Camp Bear for the summer as part of a campaign to "unplug" him from the television set and his computer. He is a reluctant camper, but he perseveres and makes lots of friends! He learns a great deal about the world beyond television and he, also, learns to become more self-confident.

Gutman, Dan� -� Jackie and Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
� When Joe Stoshack is assigned a report about a famous African-American, he travels back in time to 1947, via an old baseball� card, to meet Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play major league baseball.� Joe finds out first hand how it felt to be a black man among white teammates; a man who showed courage, strength and self control in the midst of racial discrimination. This book includes historical photos and an addendum.

Hill, Kirkpatrick� -� The Year of Miss Agnes
� A new teacher has come to the small Alaskan village after a series of teachers who have found life in this remote place, too hard. Miss Agnes quickly overcomes their fears as she gives them encouragement and love along with book learning. She opens the world to them and gives them the self-confidence they need to face the world. But how will they get along after she leaves? She has only promised to stay a year.

Koller, Jackie French� -� The Promise
� A young boy, his brother, and father struggle through their first Christmas after the mother’s death. This short, heartwarming story combines adventure, a Christmas miracle, and the love between a boy and his dog.

Myers, Lauri� -� Surviving Brick Johnson
� During lunch in the cafeteria, fifth-grader Alex does a rude imitation of the new kid, Brick Johnson. Brick is larger than all the other kids in class and based on size and his own imagination, Alex feels he will need to protect himself and signs up for karate classes. Alex's younger brother Bob tries to convince Alex that Brick is a nice guy who comes to read to his first grade class. But, it isn't until Alex has him as a sparring partner in karate class that Alex learns they have some things in common and could even become friends.

Orr, Wendy� -� Nim’s Island
� Nim and her father, a scientist, are happy to live on a remote tropical island with only a marine iguana and a sea lion as close friends. They,� do, however, live in high-tech style and when Nim’s father is off studying plankton and his cell-phone is disabled, Nim is able to communicate with an author living in New York City who sends her encouragement and offers hope. A violent storm, a volcanic eruption and nasty tourists should keep students reading this action-packed adventure of a bright young girl and her struggles with nature.

Peck, Richard� -� Fair Weather
� Rosie Beckett, her older sister, and younger brother are country people and have only experienced life in the small town near their farm.� Unexpectedly, their Aunt Euterpe, who lives in Chicago, sends them an invitation to attend the 1893 World's Fair that is being held in Chicago, Illinois. Together they experience the many marvels of the exposition including Buffalo Bill and Lillian Russell. As Aunt Euterpe opens a whole new world for the Beckett children, the Beckett children open a whole new world for Aunt Euterpe.

Schotter, Rori� -� F is for Freedom
� Amanda discovers that her home is a stop on the Underground Railroad and she is determined to help her parents as they try to protect and aid a slave family who are moving north toward freedom. Amanda makes friends with the young slave girl who is her age and wants to learn to read.� Both girls are courageous and determined and through Amanda’s impulsive actions she puts the lives of her family and the slave family, in danger.

Willner-Pardo, Gina� -� Figuring Out Frances
� Abigail tries to discover why her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, insists on calling her "Frances" instead of Abigail.� Along with her family problems, she must also adjust to changes in her friendship with a boy, Travis. This short story is one of family and friendship.

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